At an event in Tel Aviv, Bruce Harris of Microsoft revealed new details on the highly anticipated Hololens. Microsoft has been pretty tight lipped on a lot of the details surrounding the Hololens, but with what they have just revealed and the fact that Hololens will be shipping out to developers this quarter, we are starting to get a clearer view of what the device will be capable of when it is finally released to the general public
At the event Harris stated “The Hololens device itself is a fully functioning, wearable Windows 10 PC. So anything you can do with a Windows 10 laptop, you can do with this device.” This means that any app or program that is made for Windows 10 will also be available for use on your Hololens, no special tweaks or fixes required.
Harris also said that the Hololens is “totally wireless,” and that there is no option for a wired connection even if you wanted one. Hololens will be compatible with any Wi-Fi or Bluetooth capable device. When it comes to the battery, Harris stated that it will depend on what you’re doing on the device just like with a laptop. If you are doing basic word processing and checking emails (non-intensive applications) the battery will last around 5 to 5.5 hours, but if you are using more high intensity apps it will last around 2.5 hours. Even though the Hololens is fanless, Harris says that it will not get hot even after hours of use, stating “It’s built to dissipate the heat, and there’s been a lot of engineering work put into that.”
The field of view of the Hololens when you’re using it has been a bit of a concerning topic with the people who have used it hands on. When you are using it the field of view is similar to having a 15 inch screen around a foot away from your face. Harris explained that the reason behind the field of view is that the cost of manufacturing the glass to allow for a bigger field of view would make the device far more expensive. Harris said that the developer kit of Hololens runs $3000 and that if they were to increase the size it would be around $15,000. Another reason is that battery life would take a major hit trying to project onto a larger field of view, going from 2.5 hours of high intensity use to around 20 minutes.
Harris also talked about Microsoft’s goal of “mixed reality” for the Hololens. What he means by this is that Microsoft wants Hololens to be a bit of a mixture of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality. The device will make a map of the room that you are in using sensors similar to the ones on the Kinect. With that map the Hololens can have the holograms you are creating react accurately to the physical room you are in. You will also be able to share what you are looking at with any other user with a Hololens even if they are halfway around the world, all you’ll need is an internet connection. So you and your partner will both have the hologram in front of you and Hololens will be able to show you where in relation to you the other person is standing to let you know how they are seeing the hologram.
The room Harris was speaking to was full of developers, and from the way he was talking and framing his answers it seemed like most were video game developers. Hololens is shaping up to be a pretty impressive piece of technology, and we can only hope that when it is finally released that everything works as advertised and lives up to the ever growing hype.